- The American Dental Association (ADA) & National Health Service (NHS) agree that dental X-rays during pregnancy are safe, but advises taking special precautions to minimize radiation exposure to the fetus.
- Dental X-rays are among the lowest radiation doses of any medical imaging procedure. Digital dental X-rays use 80% to 90% less radiation compared to traditional dental X-ray machines
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) advises that the radiation exposure from a dental X-ray is too low to cause any harm to an unborn baby.
The ADA recommends that if dental X-rays are necessary during pregnancy, every precaution should be taken to ensure the minimum radiation exposure for the mother and fetus. This includes using leaded apron shields to cover the abdomen and thyroid.
The first trimester has the greatest impact on fetal development, so delaying dental work until the second trimester is advisable for straightforward operations or cleanings.
The American College of Radiology (ACR), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and the FDA all concur that dental x-rays taken during pregnancy are safe. Even dental x-rays taken in the early stages of pregnancy have no known negative effects on the mother or the unborn child.
Radiation is the issue with x-rays and their potential damage to a pregnancy. Although there are hazards associated with very high radiation exposure, including miscarriage and birth problems, these high levels only happen during aggressive treatments, like radiation for cancer. So this shouldn’t be a concern with dental X-rays.
In a joint publication they published in 2017, they claimed that x-rays used on the mouth and teeth do not directly expose reproductive organs to radiation. Therefore, taking a dental X-ray while pregnant is completely safe as long as the proper shields are used to protect the organs. Even using dental x-rays during the first trimester of pregnancy “does not represent any risk to the unborn child.”
Due to their research on the women and children harmed by the atomic bombs placed on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ACOG scientists have a wealth of knowledge on radiation exposure during pregnancy. Their finding was that it takes a very high amount of X-ray radiation to harm your unborn child. Dental x-rays do not even come close to this dose. Plus you protect yourself with the right shields.
Lead aprons, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, cut x-ray radiation exposure by more than 90%. To further safeguard themselves, the American Dental Association advises using a leaded thyroid collar during dental X-rays for youngsters, pregnant women, and women who are lactating.
Are dental x rays safe during pregnancy?
Two dental X-ray films typically expose you to a radiation dose of 0.002, according to board-certified radiologist Adam Evearitt’s article in the Journal of the Colorado Dental Association. Additionally, “fetal risk of abnormalities, growth restriction, or [miscarriage] have not been recorded with radiation exposure of less than 50,” according to the ACOG.
Simply explained, it would take at least 25,000 times as much radiation as what is emitted by dental X-rays to kill a baby. Additionally, the minuscule amount of radiation you receive from a dental X-ray when pregnant is focused and directed towards your mouth, shielding the unborn child completely from the radiation. Because dental radiation is focused on parts of the body that aren’t radiosensitive, it has traditionally been thought to be safer than other types of medical radiation, according to Evearitt.
That said, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- When it comes to the fetus’s development, the first three months of pregnancy have the greatest impact. As a result, many expectant mothers might decide to hold off on getting dental x-rays until after this delicate period has passed.
- The majority of medical specialists will advise delaying any dental work at least until the second trimester. The baby is probably at lower danger. The patient could find it challenging to lie on their back for an extended period of time by the third trimester. For straightforward operations or cleanings, the second trimester is ideal.
- If a patient requires urgent dental care during the first trimester, there are no known hazards or harms to the growing embryo. So you may proceed with proper precautions. This covers procedures like root canals and crowns.
- Delaying cosmetic dental procedures like veneers or teeth whitening until after the patient has given birth is preferable.
Dental X-rays: Are They Safe While Nursing?
Many new mothers worry about exposing their newborns to dangerous toxins carried through their milk during breastfeeding even after giving birth. But dental x-rays are safe for pregnant women, just as they are for nursing moms and their infants.
Pediatrician Natasha Burgert reassures women about the safety of dental and even chest X-rays during nursing in a piece for Baby Center. Dr. Burgert claims that because X-ray radiation does not linger in breast milk after the scan, your kid won’t be exposed.
When pregnant, discuss dental X-rays with your dentist
If you are pregnant, nursing, or think you might be pregnant, you should always tell your dentist. Your dentist will advise wearing a lead apron and other protective attire to filter any radiation emitted from your reproductive organs if you are nervous or have any concerns.
This is true regardless of whether you are pregnant or not, as well as whether you are a male or woman. Your general preventive care practice must include oral hygiene throughout pregnancy. Make sure to discuss having dental x-rays while pregnant with your dentist and schedule it as part of your routine preventive appointment.